New Approaches to Exec-Ed

Today's climate demands fresh thinking, say three top schools. Plus: New scholarships at Carnegie Mellon; Poker 2005; And more

By Francesca Di Meglio

Three of the world's top-ranked business schools -- Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, Cornell University's S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, and Queen's School of Business -- are launching new executive-education programs to respond to the corporate world's demand for more effective leaders. Among the most desirable traits for today's execs: a command of hard and soft skills and the ability to negotiate just as easily in foreign countries as they can in their own backyard.

In February, the McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C., will welcome its first class to the Executive Master's in Leadership program, which combines advanced management training with spirituality. About 40 people will enroll, including applicants from the military, law enforcement, and government. Students will attend classes on the B-school's main campus every other weekend for one year. A series of overnight residencies off-site, including a session about "discerning your passion" run by a Jesuit priest, will round out the coursework.

The unique part of this curriculum is the internal reflection that it demands of participants, says the program's creator, Academic Director Robert Bies. Students will create a leadership action plan to spell out their goals, and a personal coach will check in with them periodically to offer guidance. A residency at Gettysburg led by an army expert will give students the chance to learn business strategy through the eyes of the military.

The program's capstone is a spiritually based residency, also run by a priest, meant to encourage students to contemplate how they can contribute to society as moral leaders. "I'd like to change the world one student at a time," says Bies.


  Another new exec-ed program takes a cross-border approach to developing business leaders. The Johnson School in Ithaca, N.Y., is teaming up with the Queen's School of Business in Kingston, Ontario to offer something they call the Boardroom Executive MBA. It's a 17-month long program in which six to eight individuals are placed on different "boards of directors" that are all linked by videoconferencing. About half of the 100 or so students will be Americans and the other half Canadian.

"On the surface Canada and the U.S. are very similar, but this will give students the chance to see the different ways managers operate across borders," says John Moore, co-director of the program. He adds that this program is unique because it will be using technology to link students from different countries, and each student will earn two EMBAs, one from each school.

The program's purpose is to teach promising leaders the fundamentals of decisionmaking and strategy. Highlights include three residential sessions, including one 10-day stay at the IBM facility in Palisades, N.Y. Participants will also have the chance to write a new business plan and go abroad for a fully funded international project of some sort. Tuition costs $89,000.

Carnegie Mellon Scholarships

To honor two distinguished scholars and increase its international population,Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh has announced new full-tuition scholarships for French and Spanish MBA aspirants applying for the 2005-06 academic year.

The Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber Scholarship will go to "an exceptionally qualified MBA candidate who is a resident of France," according to the school. Servan-Schreiber is a former professor and international chairman of Carnegie Mellon who was also a prominent thinker, journalist, and political figure in France. In 1990, he helped the school create the Carnegie Bosch Institute, which is focused on developing globally minded leaders. Servan-Schreiber also served as an adviser to French President François Mitterrand and as a Cabinet minister in the government of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, in addition to writing about foreign policy for Le Monde and founding the French news weekly L'Express.

Also being honored is professor and provost emeritus of Carnegie Mellon, Angel Jordan, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who received the "Doctor Honoris Causa" from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Public University of Navarra. A scholarship in his name will be awarded to an outstanding MBA candidate who is a resident of Spain.

"Our hope is that these scholarships will attract outstanding MBA students from France and Spain who will strive to achieve what Angel and Jean-Jacques have achieved," says Tepper Dean Kenneth Dunn. "Enhancing our diverse student experience is also critical for the preparation of leaders in the international marketplace."

MBA Poker Championships

More than 300 MBAs from about 25 schools will let the chips fall where they may at the second annual Susquehanna MBA Poker Championship at Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas from Jan. 14 to 16. Including the 10% prize pool, the event should raise more than $15,000 for the Alzheimer's Assn., says co-organizer Stephen Bradford Jones, a second-year student at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Jones, whose school was the big winner at the championships last year, had the idea for this event the summer before he arrived on Chicago's campus. "I, like a lot of people, had gotten into the whole poker craze because it's fun, intellectually stimulating, and involves a lot of psychology," he says.

The championship has grown significantly in size from one year to the next, thanks at least in part to word of mouth over the Internet. The discussion about holding a championship in Vegas got started on the BusinessWeek Online Forums and then headed to a Yahoo! group. From there, the plans started coming together for the first championship, which was held in January, 2004.

This year, Jones and co-organizer Andrew Favorov of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business garnered corporate sponsorships and encouraged more students, faculty, and alumni to join in the fun. The weekend has turned into a social and networking event and has even attracted recruiters. Some students last year reported snagging interviews while sitting at the card table.

Women's Summit

In early December, 50 women business executives from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus convened at a summit to address everything from maintaining work/life balance to encouraging women entrepreneurs at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

This get-together was spawned by the 2002 Helsinki Women Business Leaders Summit founded by U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. The Georgetown event was part two of the Riga Women Business Leader's Summit, which included a first conference in September in Riga, Latvia, where 50 American business executives met with European colleagues to exchange business practices, build management skills, and network.

When the Europeans visited the U.S., they spent a week observing American women leaders on the job before heading to D.C. In the nation's capital, they witnessed an address from Heather Conley, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and visited with international business students from their respective countries. Panel discussions and small groups covered topics such as how to motivate employees, survive business mistakes, and access capital. A trip to the White House to learn about women in President George Bush's Administration rounded out the summit.

The next women business leader's conference is tentatively planned for 2006 in Jordan and will focus on the business practices of women in the Middle East.

Do you have B-school news, events, or other tidbits to report? Send an e-mail with the subject line, "Gossip" to Francesca Di Meglio

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